Note: mentions mental health issues, sexual assault, and rape.
We often hear anti-maskers use the phrase, “my body, my choice”, but do we know what movement it first came about for? Sexual health has been a touchy topic in many countries all over the world and it usually stems from one topic; abortion.
In social science jargon, the two sides of the coin of the discussion surrounding abortion are pro-life and pro-choice. Simply put, pro-life is being on the side that believes that the fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus has the complete right to live, on the flip side to this, being pro-choice means that you believe that a woman has the right to choose regarding whether she should continue her pregnancy to term.
Now, we get to the nitty-gritty part of this article, which side is right? During heated discussions regarding this topic, people tend to think that everything is black and white, we assume that once someone is pro-choice, they are completely for abortion and if they’re pro-life they are against it. Something we tend to forget is, just like other issues such as whether governments should pass laws that support the death penalty, it never is truly black and white. One way we can look at this so that we can understand it better is on a circumstantial basis. Things that have a certain effect for one situation doesn’t necessarily mean that it will have the same effect in a different situation.
A non-polarized way to view this is being pro-life or pro-choice but with reservations. This simply means that you have your bottom line of which outcome you prefer but at the same time the aspect of absolution in your belief is limited. An example of some reservations or exceptional instances wherein both sides can meet halfway is in circumstances of pregnancies that are due to rape, medical situations wherein continuation of the pregnancy may cause fatal danger to the mother’s health, mental and emotional incapacity of the parents, financial incapacity of the parents and others.
On a policy-making level, implementing policies surrounding abortion and the effects that it can have on the overall population of a nation will heavily be influenced by how it is carried out. Legalization of abortion won’t necessarily mean promoting it as the number one solution for unwanted pregnancies and prohibiting it won’t mean that it won’t be carried out. The topic of abortion also brings to light multiple other possible pitfalls within the system of a country. Some arguments have been raised that if governments worked on their adoption policies & procedures, making housing and education more accessible to most of its citizens and bettering sexual education programs then it would lower the need for abortions. A study by the Guttmacher Institute found that in the past 25 years, abortions rates have fallen in countries that have legalized it and the more abortion restrictive countries show higher abortion rates. One thing that has to be noted is that in the countries that showed lower abortion rates, they did not come about with that conclusion just because of the legalization of abortion, it is a combination of multiple things such as sexual education, accessibility of contraceptives and to certain extents economic development. The fact that prohibiting the procedure doesn’t mean eliminating it also points to the fact that the illegal abortions that happen are gravely unsafe.
At the end of the day, there isn’t really a conclusion regarding which side is the answer to problems like rising rates of teenage pregnancies or overpopulation. The answer to the question “which side is right?” will have different answers depending on the circumstances of who you will ask. Overall, there should be an emphasis on making the choice that promotes safety and security for a majority of the population in the long run and a proper analysis as to how to carry out said decision.